This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 12)

This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 12) ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE These Creepy Fake Humans Represent a New Age in AI Karen Hao | MIT Technology Review “[The simulated humans] are synthetic data designed to feed the growing appetite of deep-learning algorithms. Firms like Datagen offer a compelling alternative to the expensive and time-consuming process of gathering real-world data. They will make it for you: how you want it, when you want—and relatively cheaply.” ROBOTICS For $2,700, You Too Can Have Your Very Own Robotic Dog Victoria Song | Gizmodo “You’re probably familiar with Spot, Boston Dynamics’ highly…

Waymo Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Start Moving Freight Across Texas

Waymo Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Start Moving Freight Across Texas Last month, self-driving technology company TuSimple shipped a truckload of watermelons across the state of Texas ten hours faster than normal. They did this by using their automated driving system for over 900 miles of the journey. The test drive was considered a success, and marked the beginning of a partnership between TuSimple and produce distributor Guimarra. This is one of the first such partnerships announced, but TuSimple may soon have some competition from another big player in the driverless vehicles game: Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Waymo. Yesterday, Waymo announced a…

NASA Selects New Science Investigations for Future Moon Deliveries

As NASA continues plans for multiple commercial deliveries to the Moon’s surface per year, the agency has selected three new scientific investigation payload suites to advance understanding of Earth’s nearest neighbor. Source: NASA Breaking news NASA Selects New Science Investigations for Future Moon Deliveries

This Drone Bus Will Carry 40 Passengers Between Cities for the Price of a Train Ticket

This Drone Bus Will Carry 40 Passengers Between Cities for the Price of a Train Ticket Multiple companies are working on new aerial modes of transportation, be they taxis that fly, drones that drive, or cars that drive and fly. What most of these vehicles have in common is that they’re intended for just a few people to ride in at once, like airborne Ubers. But a New York-based startup is thinking bigger, quite literally: Kelekona is developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle that will be able to transport 40 people at once. The aircraft’s design is…

Teams Engineer Complex Human Tissues, Win Top Prizes in NASA Challenge

Two teams of scientists from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have won first and second place in NASA’s Vascular Tissue Challenge. Source: NASA Breaking news Teams Engineer Complex Human Tissues, Win Top Prizes in NASA Challenge

NASA Is Returning to Venus, Where It’s 470°C. Will We Find Life When We Get There?

NASA Is Returning to Venus, Where It’s 470°C. Will We Find Life When We Get There? NASA has selected two missions, dubbed DAVINCI+ and VERITAS, to study the “lost habitable” world of Venus. Each mission will receive approximately $500 million for development and both are expected to launch between 2028 and 2030. It had long been thought there was no life on Venus, due to its extremely high temperatures. But late last year, scientists studying the planet’s atmosphere announced the surprising (and somewhat controversial) discovery of phosphine. On Earth, this chemical is produced primarily by living organisms. The news sparked…

NASA Administrator Statement on US Innovation and Competitiveness Act

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson released the following statement Tuesday after the Senate passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act. Source: NASA Breaking news NASA Administrator Statement on US Innovation and Competitiveness Act

Scientists Used CRISPR to Engineer a New ‘Superbug’ That’s Invincible to All Viruses

Scientists Used CRISPR to Engineer a New ‘Superbug’ That’s Invincible to All Viruses Can we reprogram existing life at will? To synthetic biologists, the answer is yes. The central code for biology is simple. DNA letters, in groups of three, are translated into amino acids—Lego blocks that make proteins. Proteins build our bodies, regulate our metabolism, and allow us to function as living beings. Designing custom proteins often means you can redesign small aspects of life—for example, getting a bacteria to pump out life-saving drugs like insulin. All life on Earth follows this rule: a combination of 64 DNA triplet…

NASA Highlights Winners of Challenge to Engineer Human Tissue

NASA will announce the first- and second-place winners of the Vascular Tissue Challenge, a prize competition to grow and sustain functioning human tissue in a lab, Wednesday, June 9. Source: NASA Breaking news NASA Highlights Winners of Challenge to Engineer Human Tissue

How Long Can We Live? New Research Says the Human Lifespan Tops Out at 150

How Long Can We Live? New Research Says the Human Lifespan Tops Out at 150 Even with a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, a lucky draw in the genetic lottery, and the best medicine known to man, your natural lifespan has a hard limit of 150 years, say researchers. But understanding why could help us break through that ceiling. In the last decade, breakthroughs in our understanding of the aging process and promising early results from age reversal experiments in animals have dragged longevity research out of the academic backwaters and firmly into the mainstream. Alongside this renaissance, there’s been…

Google and Harvard Unveil the Largest High-Resolution Map of the Brain Yet

Google and Harvard Unveil the Largest High-Resolution Map of the Brain Yet Last Tuesday, teams from Google and Harvard published an intricate map of every cell and connection in a cubic millimeter of the human brain. The mapped region encompasses the various layers and cell types of the cerebral cortex, a region of brain tissue associated with higher-level cognition, such as thinking, planning, and language. According to Google, it’s the largest brain map at this level of detail to date, and it’s freely available to scientists (and the rest of us) online. (Really. Go here. Take a stroll.) To make…

This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 5)

This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 5) ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE China’s Gigantic Multi-Modal AI Is No One-Trick Pony A. Tarantola | Engadget “When Open AI’s GPT-3 model made its debut in May of 2020, its performance was widely considered to be the literal state of the art. …But oh what a difference a year makes. Researchers from the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence announced on Tuesday the release of their own generative deep learning model, Wu Dao, a mammoth AI seemingly capable of doing everything GPT-3 can do, and more.” TRANSPORTATION United Airlines Wants to Bring Back Supersonic…

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